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SCIS joins BUILDSMART’s project meeting

Residential building Hyllie in Malmö, Sweden

Residential building Hyllie in Malmö, Sweden

It was one sunny Tuesday in April that I joined a meeting of the BUILDSMART project, co-funded by the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, in Dublin as a SCIS representative. The project’s ambition: to demonstrate cost-effective methods and technologies for buildings and energy-related behavioral issues. Greeted with an initially reticent reception from the project partners, this totally changed following a short introduction about SCIS and its mission.

The meeting began with the status of the building design and construction in Malmö and Bilbao (due to the financial crisis, the demonstration site in Dublin has not been realised.) Of particular inspiration for me was the Roth Fastigheter residential building in Malmo. The developer has analysed a large amount of monitoring data gathered over two heating periods and the first adaptations have been made to improve the energy performance of the building. One of the improvements was the installation of new sensors in all 36 apartments since the existing sensors weren’t functioning in the expected way. Furthermore, thanks to careful monitoring some problems with the solar thermal power plant have also been detected and solved.

Office building Klipporna in Malmö, Sweden

Office building Klipporna in Malmö, Sweden

But why would a developer be interested in increasing the energy efficiency of the building after its construction? Normally, in Sweden the costs for heating are not invoiced for each apartment but for the whole building and then equally distributed by m². This has been the main barrier to engage residents in energy efficiency in Sweden given also the country’s very low energy costs compared to other countries. In actual fact, by decreasing the energy consumption of the building and for each apartment the developer not only ensures low energy cost for the residents, but also increases the market value of the building in relation to future construction projects. I was impressed by that vision.

Hotel and residential building Malmö Live in Malmö, Sweden

Hotel and residential building Malmö Live in Malmö, Sweden

Given my background, I was also delighted to see that SCIS methodology was being used for technical monitoring. As often encountered throughout projects the construction of some buildings is delayed due to many different reasons. This can be critical for the evaluation of the building performance within the project timeframe since at least one year of monitoring is necessary. SCIS and the project coordinators discussed different scenarios and came up with a solution that meets both the project and SCIS requirements. Besides the technical monitoring, an approach for the economic data was also agreed, which is often one of the most challenging since a clear distinction between different technologies and measurements is not meaningful.

Residential building Portugalete in Bilbao, Spain

Residential building Portugalete in Bilbao, Spain

Over dinner, the BUILDSMART partners and I had the opportunity to discuss their experiences about the project in more detail. As I walked back to my hotel through the famous and remarkable Trinity College in Dublin that has been built over 400 years ago, I felt inspired by the project and the engagement, commitment and collaboration shown among city representatives, industry and science.

SCIS looks forward to the final event of the BUILDSMART project in November 2016 and especially to the visit of the different demonstration sites in Malmö.

About the author

Sebastian Möller is working as a Research Engineer at the Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna. His focus is energy planning on city and neighborhood level as well as cost/benefit analysis. At AIT he has been involved in several European and National projects. His background is energy management and optimization modeling. Within SCIS he is working mainly in WP2 – Monitoring and is involved in several tasks including the data collection of the projects in scope of SCIS steadily building up his knowledge about smart cities solutions and potential barriers respectively enablers.